Learn to buy and sell antiques and collectibles

eBay Doesn't Like Like

Using The Word Like In eBay Titles

This article is only about using the word like in eBay titles. Here's general information about eBay Auction Titles

What Were They Thinking?

About a month ago I listed an item made by Richart on eBay. I used a title like this one:

"Richart Tank like McCoy."

EBay cancelled the auction for keyword spamming. (McCoy is another manufacturer that made similar trains.)

The truth is I was wrong. I didn't follow the rules even though I know better. I was just in a hurry.

A little background. . .

EBay rules say you cannot make comparisons in your titles to use additional brand names. However, you can mention a single additional brand name by referring to a brand the item can be USED WITH. More on this can be found at - eBay Keyword Rules

So, after eBay cancelled the auction, I relisted the item with this title:

"Richart Tank use with McCoy."

The term "use with" is acceptable, and eBay let the auction run.

Here's where it gets weird.

Last week I listed a signal on eBay. Here's the title I used:

"Like NEW BOXED Lionel 154 Hiway Crossing Signal"

Guess what?

EBay cancelled the auction for keyword spamming.

Now look at the title again. There are two keywords in the title. Lionel which is the manufacturer, and the model number 154.

Can you see what is wrong with that title?

Confused? You aren't alone. I couldn't understand it either.

Here's the explanation eBay sent me by email:

"The listing was removed because it violated the eBay Keyword Spamming policy. The violation occurred when you included the following information in your listing:

"In Title....Like NEW

"All fees related to this listing have been credited to your account. We also notified members who placed bids on the item that the listing has been canceled.

"Keyword spamming is the practice of placing inappropriate words in searchable text to draw attention to Web content. To ensure that members' searches produce relevant results, sellers are not permitted to put brand names or other inappropriate keywords in a listing title or description for the purpose of attracting members to a listing. Sellers can only include a brand name under certain limited conditions.

"Sellers can use brand names or keywords only if they relate directly to the item that is being offered in the listing. eBay doesn't permit sellers to use unrelated keywords because they may confuse and mislead buyers."

I was still confused.

You see, in this case the words LIKE NEW refer to the CONDITION of the item. We have commonly used grading standards in the toy train community and Like New is the second highest behind MINT.

It's not an attempt to slip a keyword into the title by doing a comparison.

At first I thought maybe eBay was making a judgment call. Grading is not an exact art, and maybe eBay figured the item wasn't "like new." But, I try to grade my items conservatively so my buyers are happy. I might stretch the line a bit, but I never exaggerate. It's the nature of grading. Sellers tend to grade things high by ignoring tiny faults, while buyers tend to emphasize faults to lower the grade.

After I thought about it for a while, I decided it had to be something else.

Maybe there is a brand called "New?"

So, I contacted eBay about this and explained that like new is a commonly used grading term.

Here's eBay's response:

"Dear Terry,

"Thank you for writing eBay in regard to your auction which was removed due to our Keyword Spamming policy.

"Terry the term "like new" is a form of Keyword Spamming as a Buyer who is solely looking to purchase a brand new item will have your item come up in their search results. The search engine cannot determine a new item from a like new item, all that it can recognize is that new was typed into the search field so it will bring up any auction with the word new in the title. As the Buyer was not looking for a used item it could be a frustrating experience for the buyer.

"Sellers are not permitted to use comparison terms in the titles of their listings to compare the condition of their item.

"For example, stating that the item is "like new," "not new," or any use of the words "new" if the item is used, is a violation of this policy.

"If the item is a new item, it may be described as such. However, if the item is used, regardless of how little it may have been used, it may not be described as "new" in any way.

"There are other terms that you may use to state the condition of your item, such as "gently used" or "lightly used."

First time I've heard about this.

I've been listing items with the words like new in the title for almost 10 years, and never had a single problem.

I could understand if someone described a piece of clothing as like new causing problems with searchers being disappointed, but in the antiques and collectibles categories, this is just being stupid on eBay's part.

I guess they need to protect people who buy underwear on eBay.

Actually the root problem here is eBay no longer wants to be thought of as a place to sell antiques and collectibles. They want to be the online marketplace. This means they are gearing their site to compete with Wal-Mart.

It's their site and they can take it in any direction they like. We can get around their stupid rules by using abbreviations.

For example:

  • LN for Like new
  • LNOB for like new original box

I put a whole list of common eBay Abbreviations online. Take a look at my list and if you find ones I've missed, drop me a note.

Common eBay Abbreviations


PS Here's some comments sent in by readers like you.

Terry -

I don't use any references to condition in my titles unless it is indeed New. I keep the title more plain so as to draw them into the auction where I will state the condition right under the top center photo. I also keep the Condition box on the listing entry page blank, unless again, new.

I guess with vintage collectibles, the condition in the title is more standard than with the latest appliances!

Don Hoppe

My pattern for a sock doll monkey was removed because I listed it under patterns and ebay said, in letters very similar to yours, that I cannot list socks in the pattern category. There was no getting them to understand that I wasn't listing socks. After 3 canned letters where it was apparent that eBay just didn't get it, I finally convinced myself that there was no way that I could possibly be dealing with a human being and that the computer's gramma had never made it a sock monkey.

Thanks for making me laugh.

Just wanted to let you know, I had an auction get canceled for using the "word" LNEW because they said that was keyword spamming of the word new. I still don't understand how that can be considered keyword spamming since LNEW is not a word that will come up when they search the word NEW. Had a long conversation with them, going back and forth about how it doesn't make any sense, but of course the bottom line is that Ebay will do what it wants to do.

So Ebay is not only canceling auctions with the words LIKE NEW in the title, but they are canceling the auctions with the abbreviation as well.

Go figure

Hello Terry Gibbs,

Just finished reading your The Auction Revolution for the second time. Much useful information, much more than I have found in any other e-book or auction course I have bought.

After reading your book, I now feel I have been cheated by those courses, which cost me hundreds of dollars. None supplied me with the hands on information needed to run a successful auction business.

Thanks for writing the book. I also find great value in you newsletter. Just what I need to get me started at e-Bay.

Loretta Woehst

"The IWantCollectibles Guide to Ebay Sales"
is now available for immediate download.

Many of the articles and free reports here on IWantCollectibles were originally sent to readers of my Antiques and eBay Newsletter. Not all articles make it onto the website, and readers also get notices of free reports and special offers.

Ted at his desk.

Most Popular Articles on IWantCollectibles
  • Finding Products To Sell On eBay
    How to find products to sell on eBay is the most common question I get from my readers. This page has links to all the articles and reports I've written about finding eBay products.
  • How To Be An Antique Dealer
    The best way to start an antiques or collectibles business. Part 1 of a five part series on being an antiques dealer.
  • Understanding eBay Changes 2011
    This page covers eBay changes and has links to all articles on IWantCollectibles about working within the changes. Sign up for my free newsletter for articles covering new changes as they are announced.
  • Tips for Starting an eBay Consignment Business
    Selling on consignment is the perfect way to start on eBay. This article is an introduction to consignment selling, and explains what you'll need to be successful. First in a series on eBay Consignment.
  • Shopping For eBay Products At Garage Sales
    Thirteen tips for garage sale shopping. Part one of a two part series on garage and yard sales.
  • Finding New Products for eBay
    If you want to sell new products you need to concentrate on items others are not selling. You need to find sources other sellers are unaware of. That is not hard to do. Here's a list of articles to get you started on the right path.
  • eBay Auction Category, Title And Keyword Advice
    A series of articles about getting your items found on eBay. Covers category selection, eBay keyword rules, and researching keywords. Finally you'll learn how to write an informative, keyword rich title.

The IWantCollectibles Guide to Ebay Sales
is now available for immediate download.

Free Antiques and eBay Newsletter
Get 9 Free eBay Ebooks
Free emailed newsletter includes free ebooks, interviews with eBay sellers, and helpful articles. You can unsubscribe at any time.

More Newsletter Information

eBay Questions and Answers

About .

Contact Terry

Free eBay Ebooks

eBay Advice

Antiques Advice

Antiques and eBay Reports

eBay Articles

Finding Products To Sell On eBay

What to Sell On eBay?

How eBay's Best Match Search Works

How To Sell On eBay For Beginners

The Drop Shipping Myth Explained

Dealing With eBay Changes 2018

Overcoming Common eBay Seller Frustrations

27 Ways To Find Antiques To Sell On eBay

Advice for Writing and Selling Ebooks On EBay

Selling Antiques On eBay

Using Facebook and Pinterest to Promote eBay Auctions

Tips for Starting an eBay Consignment Business

eBay Title Tips

Selling At Antique Shows Versus On eBay

Buying eBay Products at Yard Sales

Finding eBay Products At Garage Sales

23 Tips For Taking Better eBay Pictures

Finding Wholesale Products To Sell On eBay

How To Use eBay Listing Upgrades And Options Efficiently

Does An eBay Store Make Sense For You?

Minimizing eBay Fees

19 Ways To Quickly Improve Your eBay Auctions

eBay's Detailed Seller Ratings Reexamined

The Fixed Price Listing Trap

Finding eBay Keywords For Old Items

Adding Youtube Videos To Your eBay Auctions

Commonly Used eBay Abbreviations

How To Drive Traffic To eBay Auctions and Websites

Selecting The Best Category And Keywords For Your eBay Auction

Finding eBay Products By Finding People

Identifying eBay Products People Want

Signing Up People For Your eBay Consignment Services

Motivating eBay Auction Visitors To Bid

Getting Started Selling On eBay

eBay Keyword Rules Explained

How To Add Free Pictures To eBay

eBay Selling Tips

Free eBay Shipping Calculator

Shipping Advice for eBay Sellers

eBay Packing With Paper

eBay Arbitrage Profits

Figuring eBay Consignment Fees

How To Have Negative Feedback Removed For Under $500

Finding Antiques And Collectibles To Sell On Ebay

eBay Reports

Setting Your Ebay Business Up For Growth

Start Your Own eBay Consignment Business

Finding Profitable eBay Niches

Finding Profitable Hidden Bargains at Garage Sales

Finding Wholesale Products To Sell On eBay

Secret eBay Product Sources

Selling Public Domain Items on eBay

BMO Harris Mortgage Brokers Lie

The Resentful Consumer
© Copyright 2001-2020 Terry Gibbs
IWantCollectibles LLC
IWC LLC PO BOX 842, Mesa, AZ 85211